In this concept paper, the Joint Working Group on Israeli–Palestinian Relations—a group of influential Palestinians and Israelis that has been meeting periodically since 1994 to discuss final–status issues in the Israeli–Palestinian negotiations—explores the future relationship between the two societies after the signing of a peace agreement. The paper considers a relationship based on total separation between the two societies and states as neither realistic nor desirable. Instead, it envisages a future relationship based on mutually beneficial cooperation in many spheres, conducive to stable peace, sustainable development, and ultimate reconciliation. The basis for such a relationship must be laid in the process and outcome of the final–status negotiations and in the patterns of cooperation established on the ground.
Efforts at cooperation and reconciliation cannot be pursued apart from their political context. The paper argues that the only feasible political arrangement on which a cooperative relationship can be built is a two–state solution, establishing a genuinely independent Palestinian state alongside of Israel. The resolution of final–status issues must be consistent with the sovereignty, viability, and security of both states.
The paper then proceeds to describe several models for the relationship between the two states and societies. It advocates a model of close cooperation, but proposes that this relationship be built in stages. The scope and speed of expanding and institutionalizing cooperative activities must be determined by experience—by the extent to which such activities meet the needs of both parties, enhance mutual trust, and reduce inequalities between the parties.
Finally, the paper discusses three avenues for promoting a cooperative relationship based on equality, reciprocal benefit, and mutual trust and respect: the development of functional ties and civil–society institutions across national borders; programs directed toward attitude change and stereotype reduction; and efforts to close the economic and political gap between the two societies.
Kelman, Herbert C. "The Future Israeli-Palestian Relationship." Working Paper 99–12, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1999.